More Ángel Di María magic as Benfica beat Farense 3-1 in Faro

Benfica took a big step towards securing second spot in the Primeira Liga after beating Farense 3-1 at Estádio de São Luís.

The Ángel Di María and Alexander Bah overload created the Eagles’ first goal in the 16th minute, Bah’s cross converted by Orkun Kökçü.

Farense equalsied seven minutes later, Mohamed Belloumi picking up a loose ball and smashing it past Anatolii Trubin.

The Eagles regained the lead in the 34th minute, a near identical goal to the first, Di María and Bah combining with Arthur Cabral converting the cross with a clever backheel.

Cabral hit the post before the break but Benfica made sure of the result in the 67th minute, Di María finding Álvaro Fernández who scored his first goal for Roger Schmidt’s side.

The result sees Benfica move eight points ahead of Porto and Braga with four games remaining, the Eagles trailing Sporting Clube de Portugal by seven points.

Sporting remain favourites to lift the 2023/24 Portuguese title but the convincing performance by the Eagles may persuade gamblers and visitors to tipster reviews to have a punt on Benfica winning the league, especially with the leaders facing a tough trip to Porto on Sunday.

Benfica on top

Benfica began brightly in the Algarve, Orkun Kökçü dragging an effort wide before Ángel Di María and Arthur Cabral tested Ricardo Velho.

Farense were struggling to play the ball out from the back, continually resorting to long balls and losing possession. They fell behind in the 16th minute.

Florentino intercepted a loose pass and found Di María who waited for Alexander Bah’s run, the right-back surging into the box and picking out Orkun Kökçü who volleyed home.

Cabral couldn’t take advantage of Di María’s cross and Kökçü fired into the side netting, but the Eagles were pegged back after failing to clear a corner.

Belloumi rocket

Cláudio Falcão’s shot was blocked by Bah, the ball falling to Mohamed Belloumi who blasted the ball into the roof of the net, giving Anatolii Trubin no chance.

Benfica bounce back

Benfica regained the lead in the 34th minute. It was the Di María and Bah combination once more, this time Bah delivering a low cross to Cabral who executed a clever backheel into the far corner.

Di María danced around some dazed defenders before missing the target, Cabral’s low drive from distance hitting the post as half-time approached.

Farense stayed in the contest after the break with Balloumi cutting onto his left foot, a low shot saved at the second attempt by Trubin.

Fernández seals it

The hosts’ resistance ended in the 67th minute. Di María would instigate a goal for the third time after dropping deep and finding an unmarked Álvaro Fernández, the left-back stepping inside Pastor and beating Velho.

Rui Costa went a whisker wide less than two minutes later after getting behind Nicolás Otamendi.

João Neves had replaced Florentino but his evening was over without spending ten minutes on the pitch. The youngster took a bad blow to the head and came off with an ice bag attached to it, Fredrik Aursnes entering the fray.

Bah made a crucial challenge to deny Elves Baldé after Costa’s deflected strike rolled into the box. Cristian Ponde then fired high and wide, Farense unable to bridge the gap.

Cabral’s overhead attempt was too close to Velho, the goalkeeper denying David Neres in the closing stages as Benfica cruised to a comfortable win.


It was a deserved win for Benfica against a Farense defence that were chasing shadows for much of the first half. Bah and Di María combined well on the right, Fernández and Tiago Gouveia on the left, Kökçü enjoyed plenty of open space with Arthur Cabral converting one of his six chances.

There were some ugly scenes after full time, a small section of Benfica fans deciding to abuse and intimidate their own players as they headed down the tunnel. After the on-field kung fu we witnessed in Chaves yesterday and the attack on the Sporting Academy in Alcochete never forgotten, more clashes between players and the public is lamentable to say the least.

In the flash interview, Roger Schmidt was asked about a proportion of Benfica supporters that haven’t been doing much supporting in recent weeks. Benfica fans also chanted offensively against Schmidt and Rui Costa during the game in Faro.

“They are the loudest and they always get your attention. It’s not good for us. If you see how they sent us last week in our home match in a Europa League quarter-final, we beat Marseille and in the last 20 minutes they are booing the team, booing the team after the match.

“So they sent us in this important match to Marseille with this feeling and at the end we saw the difference in Marseille, how their fans supported their team.

“I think we don’t want anything special, to support the team in difficult and important matches is something we like to expect, so it’s difficult for the players. That’s what I always say.

“It’s very demanding for players to play for Benfica especially for young players who are not used to it and also for experienced players, normally you get a lot of motivation out of the support. If you are doing well and you are giving everything and you are nevertheless getting this type of reaction from the fans, sometimes it’s very difficult to stand it.

“The only way is that we know there are a lot of other people and we hope that on Saturday in our stadium against Braga, only the people who want to support the players are coming into the stadium.”

Schmidt’s divorce from some of the Benfica fans will be by mutual consent, but a separation from the club will come with cash.

On 31 March 2023 the coach extended his contract until June 2026, saying "It’s a great honor to be part of Benfica... I feel that I am in the right place, and I am very pleased that Benfica believes in me, especially President Rui Costa and Lourenço Coelho, and the entire Board. I am very happy at Benfica, we have a great team and the fans are fantastic."

It’s going to be fascinating to find out Schmidt’s appraisal of his time in Portugal when he eventually writes his memoir.

By Matthew Marshall